The United States has recently rejected Poland’s offer to send its MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine through a US airbase in Germany, saying the proposal raised “serious concerns” for the entire NATO alliance.
On Tuesday, Warsaw has made the surprise offer amid repeated appeals from Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for more warplanes to replenish his nation’s air force as it defends against invading Russian troops.
The Polish scheme has proposed that the Russian-made MiG-29 fighter jets be delivered to a US base in Ramstein, Germany and then deployed to Ukraine.
But as per the Pentagon’s spokesman John Kirby, “the prospect of the jets flying from a US-NATO base “into airspace that is contested with Russia over Ukraine raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance.”
Kirby stated in a statement, “We will continue to consult with Poland and our other NATO allies about this issue and the difficult logistical challenges it presents, but we do not believe Poland’s proposal is a tenable one.”
He further added, “It is simply not clear to us that there is a substantive rationale for it.”
While a major part of Ukraine’s air force has remained untouched since the beginning of the invasion on February 24, both Ukraine and Russia have sustained heavy casualties and losses, and neither controls the airspace over the nation.
Ukraine’s air force fleet consists of ageing Soviet-era MiG-29 and Sukhoi-27 jets and heavier Sukhoi-25 jets, and these are the only planes Ukrainian pilots could fly immediately without additional training.
And while Ukraine has stepped up calls for Western allies to supply it with military jets, providing Kyiv with warplanes poses serious risks. Russia has warned that supporting Ukraine’s air force would be seen in Moscow as participating in the conflict and open up suppliers to possible retaliation.
NATO in a statement has said it does not want direct conflict with Moscow, a fellow nuclear-armed power, and US President Joe Biden has ruled out sending American troops into Ukraine to fight, something the Pentagon has said would apply to soldiers on the ground or in the air, flying missions.